An Interview with Marjorie Rosenberg, IATEFL BESIG Coordinator

Mercedes Viola:

Excellent interview!

Originally posted on Vicky Loras's Blog:

Marjorie and I met two years ago, at the IATEFL BESIG Summer Symposium in Paris. What impressed me about her was her enthusiasm about her work and her willingness to help out and run what was a great conference. She is extremely supportive to our teaching community and we are all very fortuntate to be connected with her. It is a huge honour to have her here on my blog. Enjoy our interview!

Vicky: Marjorie, thanks so much for this interview. It is an honour to have you on the blog!

Marjorie: It is an honour to be here!

Vicky: Let’s talk about your journey into education. It has been a really interesting one. Could you tell us more about it?

Marjorie: I actually studied music in Buffalo, New York and wanted to be an opera singer.  While finishing my Master’s I took teaching qualifications as well and taught music…

View original 2,346 more words


Scott Thornbury – Interlanguage Fossilization, no way out?

5000805527_16f0f001c1_zAs most of you know, Scott Thornbury was born in New Zealand. After studying in London, he moved to Egypt where he taught English for 10 years. Now, he lives in Spain and has been living in Barcelona for almost 30 years.

Why am I mentioning this?  Almost four months ago, Scott started writing a new blog – The (de-) fossilization diaries – where he’s recording the vicissitudes of a new journey on which he embarked –  the ‘de-fossilization’ of his Spanish.



To fossilize means to become rigid, fixed, so is it possible to “de-fossilize” something? Can fossilized errors be overcome?

A couple of years ago, Scott Thornbury wrote an article to answer a question from a teacher: How can students overcome fossilized errors?

You can read it here


At the IATEFL Webinar on November 30, he will be sharing his experience on this challenge of ‘de-fossilizing’ his second language (Spanish)

‘Fossilization: Is it terminal?’

When:  November 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm GMT – You can check your local time here

Where: Click here

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room”

To take better profit of this opportunity, you can read Fossilization: is it terminal, doctor?.

See you online!!



Seven MORE quotes on writing for ELT

You can join us tomorrow for the MaWSIG Webinar with John Hughes on How To Write ELT Classroom Materials For A Wider Public

Photo of my books

IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference in Prague – Online Programme

2013 Annual Conference Online Programme

We are delighted to invite an online audience to join us for a programme of talks broadcast live from the IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference in Prague, Czech Republic.

You can find the programme here





Learning to speak ‘merican’

Vicki Hollet

In A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. Crystal (1985) gives the following definition: Pragmatics “is the study of language from the point of view of users, especially of the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction and the effects their use of language has on other participants in the act of communication.”

People not only need to learn English, they also require information on how to talk about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate speech acts in different contexts.

Intercultural communication awareness is a crucial component of any good language learning experience.

In this IATEFL Webinar, Vicki Hollett explores some of the curious differences between linguistic politeness in these two influential English varieties – British and American.

This video also raises the question of what model of English we teach. When we correct our students’ pronunciation, on what grounds do we decide?

English, as the common language among speakers of different languages, has key implications when teaching pronunciation. Users of English communicate successfully in accents that differ significantly from either Received Pronunciation (RP) or General American (GA). Many linguists have questioned the use of these models given the fact that native speaker accents are not necessarily the most intelligible or appropriate accents when a non-native speaker is communicating with another.

IATEFL Webinar

Saturday, October 19 at 2:00 GMT . You can check your local time here

To join the webinar please go to

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room”
Adrian at SIT clip

The Jazz of Teaching and Learning

Spontaneity, improvising and demanding high. Adrian at SIT clip

How do they correlate? When we improvise and move away from the plan, are we still helping our students achieve their language goals?

Many of us think we do, but, are we challenging them to their full potential?

These are some of the questions Adrian Underhill is going to address at the IATEFL Webinar on September 14.

 “When teaching we probably start out with a plan developed before the lesson. As the lesson unfolds the predictable occurs and we depart from the plan, and the class becomes a living interaction rather than the enactment of a script.  The same happens when jazz improvisers depart from the sheet music. Such improvisation makes up the bulk of most lessons yet remains ‘invisible’.  I therefore refer to it as the dark matter of teaching. This dark matter of teaching is not properly represented in the plan, course book, material, training or supervision, and thus neither critiqued nor developed. In this webinar I will explore this theme and offer suggestions for making this dark matter of teaching visible, discussible, and improvable.”

Andi White and Kristen Donaghy interviewed Adrian Underhill at the 47th Annual International IATEFL Conference.

In this interview he talks about spontaneity in the classroom.

Demand High is an idea Adrian Underhill and Jim Scrivener came up with, as a result of about two years of conversations trying to review what they had learned about language teaching throughout their careers.

You can learn more about this on their blog here  and by watching Jim Scrivener’s interview at the 47th Annual International IATEFL Conference.

Adrian Underhill talks about Demand High

Ready to join the webinar now?

Go to

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room”

When? 14 September 2013, 3pm BST – You can check your local time here

See you online!

“This is a living profession, a constant evolving profession”

Little of (or in) this world is plain black or white; it’s all shades of grey; there is no room for ultra-confidence.
Global ELT used this phrase to show an example of how the expression ‘shades of grey’ can be used.

Nowadays, with all the changes in technology and research conducted there are fewer certainties about how things should be done, how we can better help our students achieve their English communication skills goals.

Jeremy Harmer has been asking six key questions regarding the teaching of English in some of his talks

  1. Technology – Do teachers need to be competent users of technology?
  2. Error correction – Does correction actually work? Is reformulating or recasting a successful way of making our students’ English more correct?
  3. Testing – Is testing necessary? Does it have an educational benefit?
  4. Content Language Integrated Learning – Should we teach content, something interesting, and then, the language necessary to talk about that content?
  5. Rapport – What does good rapport look like in different cultures? How do we train teachers to create good rapport?
  6. Drilling – Is teaching through repetition back? Is it a good technique?

You need to interrogate what you do all the time? Question yourself.

Good practice? But how do you know? – this is a question he posed on his blog last week

You can find it here.


Next Saturday, July 27, Jeremy Harmer with be delivering a webinar in the IATEFL Adobe platform at 3pm BST – you can find out your local time here

‘Yes, but why do we need teachers at all’

We all think that teachers should motivate their students and help them to become successful learners – but what does that actually mean? And what is the balance of ‘the-teacher-as-motivator’, and the teacher who knows – and knows how to help students know?
Furthermore, in a world where people are offering digital solutions to learning problems, how has/will the teacher’s role change?

This session will look at opinions from English language teaching – and from outside the field – to come up with a new way of looking at how we can help our students to be more effective.

To join the webinar please go to

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room”
Jeremy Harmer - Mercedes Viola IATEFL Conference 2011

Mercedes Viola – Jeremy Harmer
IATEFL Annual Conference 2011